Director: Gautham Ramachandran
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Shraddha Srinath, Nataraj Subramaniam, Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli, Raj Bharath and GK Reddy
Nivin Pauly, in his maiden Tamil outing Richie, doesn’t arrive with much fanfare as many would’ve expected. He instead chooses to make an assured debut in a role that’s not easy to pull off and hard to define. Agreed, he gets to walk in slow-motion a few times, dance to popular Rajinikanth songs and smoke stylishly, but there’s nothing heroic about his character to make us celebrate his arrival.
As a viewer, you spend a lot of time trying to understand Richie – just like Shraddha’s character, a journalist, who tries to learn more about him as she digs up an old incident to give the story a fresh colour. However, you don’t quite get to know him till the end. That’s the case with most of the characters in Richie, which serves as a slow but fascinating character study of how certain situations fuel the actions of some characters.
Nivin plays a reckless, ruthless rowdy. He breaks someone’s nose because he has to prove to the world it’s his work. His surname is Sagayam (means ‘to help’) and he is true to it when he accepts blame for the sake of his friend. He plays the role effectively and manages to get Tamil right as well.
The film’s plot is very familiar. A single incident paves way for multiple versions because different characters involved understand it from their own perspective. The incident is seen from the eyes of each character and each version unravels more mystery, but it misses the suspense element to spice up the proceedings. This could have been a simple plot but it’s deliberately cut into several parts.
The actors get under the skin of the character and performances of Natty, Lakshmi Priya, Raj Bharat and Tulasi stand out. However, the extremely slow narrative is a letdown and makes even the two hour film feel really long.
Richie is technically splendid. Shot in the coastal town of Manapad, each frame is beautifully lit up in orange, red and blue by Pandi Kumar. Ajaneesh Loknath’s background score deserve more praise than the songs.
Richie is not for the regular film-goer but it’s still one of those attempts that deserve support.
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